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Volume 16 : Number 146

Friday, March 3 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 20:54:15 +0200
From: "Moshe Feldman" <moshe.feldman@gmail.com>
Re: About Kashrus

I wrote on Areivim:
>>My sisters, who attended Prospect Park Yeshiva High
>>School, attended Michlala respectively in 1985 and 1991.  One of them
>>considers herself charedi.  You can't talk about the "average" girl.
>>RSZA was giving that psak to *all* girls, including those who aren't

On 3/2/06, Samuel Svarc <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com> wrote on Areivim:
> By definition one can talk of the average girl. Furthermore, are you
> disputing the fact that the further back one goes the less charedi
> Michlala was?

Sure you can talk about the average girl. But if a posek is paskening
for all girls in an institution, he is paskening not only for the average
girl, but for the those who are not average as well. Everyone knows
that Michalah girls are not cut from one cloth.

>> Moreover, R. Danny Schoenmann reports that the talmidim were
>> told the same at Kol Torah.

> Once again the context is not given. A p'sak without a context is close
> to meaningless.

R. Danny, could you please provide the context?

> Isn't that an example of a b'deived situation? Either the girls won't go
> to their relatives or they won't eat the food in their houses.

Michlalah girls are free to stay in their dorms for Shabbos or to be set
up with people living in charedi neighborhoods. Admittedly, that might
be less appealing to them, but if there really is a kashrus problem,
why deliberately enter such a situation?

>> Second,
>>this psak was to the entire student body of Michlalah, which by
>>definition does not have one single standard.  If you are right, the
>>psak should have been: if you normally eat Rabbanut, then you can eat
>>when you visit others, but if you don't then don't.

> Once again. I wasn't there so my guess could very well be incorrect. By
> the same token, you , likewise, was not there so your guess might very
> well be incorrect as well.

But we have listmembers whose daughters attended Michlalah who said
that the psak was to the entire student body. Moreover, the report by
R. Guttal is pretty clear on this matter, that it was a general psak to
all chutznik Michlalah girls.

> Isn't that an example of a b'deived situation? Either the girls won't go
> to their relatives or they won't eat the food in their houses.

Michlalah girls are free to stay in their dorms for Shabbos or to be set
up with people living in charedi neighborhoods. Admittedly, that might
be less appealing to them, but if there really is a kashrus problem,
why deliberately enter such a situation?

> 1. This posek was fine with doing a shidduch with non-charedim. I know
> of no greater fraternization.

> 2. He had no qualms of my going to those places. I explicitly asked if
> he objected to the tznius? No. Hashkafah? No. That the places might be
> dangerous? No. Kashrus? Yes.
> One can ascribe ulterior motives to this p'sak, but my impression was
> that he felt I can't downgrade kashrus standards.

Interesting that you could consider becoming a DL in terms of marriage
and hashkafa, yet this posek believed that you couldn't downgrade your
kashrus. What about the idea that when joining a community, one accepts
upon himself its halachic norms? Did you ever consider the possibility
that this posek (R. Kaplan) truly believed that Rabbanut hashgacha is
unreliable even for non-charedim, and that therefore no one should rely
upon it? This clearly is against RSZA's view as reported.

BTW I discussed this issue today with Rav Shlomo Levi, Rosh Kollel of
Yeshivat Har Etzion (and who is fairly machmir on kashrus matters) and
even though he generally recommends that people eat Rabbanut Mehadrin
rather than plain Rabbanut, he agreed that Rabbanut is kosher me'ikar
ha'din and that in some circumstances, such as avoiding embarrassing
someone, it may be proper to eat Rabbanut.

He also suggested that some charedim who have a clear minhag to eat only
Badatz might be bound by that minhag.

>>> 1. It clearly demonstrates the dangers of such a sefer. Even with the
>>> explicit instruction people will persist in using it for p'sak. This
>>> bolsters the POV of those who advised the m'chaber not to publish the
>>> sefer.

>>On the contrary, I bring this up merely as another data point, as part
>>of an overall argument.

> Exactly. You bring it as a data point in an halachic discussion.
> Something that is against the explicit instruction.

Why is that against any explicit instruction in the book? Obviously,
the book was published for a reason, not just that people have interesting
bed-time reading.

Why can't someone who is a posek use the information in the sefer,
along with his own sevaros? I note that today I spoke with Rav Shlomo
Levi and he agreed with me.

Here are some excerpts from the haskamos to the sefer:
R. Rosenthal of Sha'arei Chesed: "In Succah 21b it states that even
sichos chulin of talmidei chachamim should be studied."

R. Zalman Nechemia Goldberg: "In the gemara Chullin, Rebbi permitted
Bet She'an to eat w/o maaser based on the testimony of R. Yehoshua ben
Zaruz who testified WRT R. Meir who ate a leaf of a vegetable. And they
asked on this: perhaps R. Meir was nosein einav b'tzad zeh (i.e., to be
ma'aser), and they answered: given that R. Yehoshua was the one who came
to be me'id, certainly he was careful and was medakdek to make sure it
was correct.
But because these statements [by RSZA were made while walking and there
wasn't enough time to expand on them, I have written a little to explain
a little more and sometimes to give my own he'aros."

R. Neuwirth: "Sometimes [RSZA did not agree [missing a verb] to his
words without additional iyun; but his words are chaviv, and great is
the conversation of talmidei chachamim, which require study."

R. Neventzal: "With respect to contradictions between what RSZA [told
different people], they may derive from various reasons: sometimes he
answered questioners different answers based on what was appropriate
for each questioner, sometimes he changed his mind. Certainly,
one can attribute this to listeners who didn't understand or forgot.
The language of the letters sent by RSZA were written according to
the needs of the recipient, as was done by the gedolim in previous
generations, and therefore one must weigh with care the circumstances
of the letter before applying [to other situations.]"

R. Avraham Auerbach's letter against the printing of the sefer: Talks
about the fact that the answers to R. Stapansky's (the author's) questions
were said while RSZA was walking, sometimes when there was a rush.
Not everything he said verbally is proper to publish. "The way of my
father was to go according to the nature of the questioner, and I am
certain that certain things were said to you one way but said differently
to another person, and some things he did not reveal the true reason."

Introduction by the author, p. 21: "I have put the relevant siman in
S.A. near each episode so that the readers will not pasken based on the
episode but will research the halachic sources. Only after iyun in the
halachic sources can talmidei chachamim who are poskim decide whether
these stories and words of RSZA can be used as an aid ("si'yu'a") in
deciding halacha l'maaseh...."

> You don't have to accept anything. I never stated that this IS the
> halacha. It was in the context of a story that I related that this p'sak
> (given to me) was related. If your Rav disagrees, that's fine. But it is
> not fine to deny the validity of a p'sak because of "data points" from
> seforim explicitly NOT intended for p'sak and hearsay p'sakim in which
> the wider halachic context is unknown.

Let's not forget that I was not denying the validity the psak given
to you, but stating that you should not extrapolate from it that *all*
charedim would be expected to comply with that psak.

>>Furthermore, in this case, RSZA did provide the reasoning behind his
>>psak--"me'ikrar ha'din, all the
>>well-known rabbanut hechsherim are good, just that certain hechsherim
>>are machmir with regard to various issues which are not related to
>>ikkar ha'din."

> I will attempt to show you why this is incomparable to a shu"t's
> presentation of the halachic reasoning.

> A shu"t would have addressed ALL halachic angles - including if RSZA
> held that one, in the privacy of ones own home, should be machmir on
> those various issues, then why doesn't he advise people to avoid
> lowering their standards by avoiding these situations (don't invite
> yourself to homes where they don't keep your standards)? And if that is
> because he is discussing a case where if you avoid going to these homes
> it would cause strife, then it's clear his p'sak is only for such a
> B'DEIVED situation, and it cannot be used to say that one should
> L'CHATCHILA put himself into such a situation.

While that might be correct with respect to the second story--involving
visiting family, it is not true with respect to the Michlalah girls
who were visiting various homes, where RSZA said, "tell them that every
hechsher is good, though everyone is permitted to be machmir for himself."

>>Yet, I was told by Dr. Haym Soloveitchik that the MM does have
>>mistakes, due to the author's lack of Torah knowledge.  In contrast,
>>with respect to V'aleihu Lo Yibol (VLY), many of the people reporting the
>>psakim (but not the collator of these psakim) are themselves
>>well-known rabbanim.

> Two answers.

> 1. If the collator of VLY is not a TC, he can make the same mistake that
> the collator of Minhagie Mahril made. Namely, to misinterpret actions.

Yet no one says that MM should not have been published.

>>Also, the gemara itself analyzes one-time maasei rav, even when the
>>rav in question did not indicate the reasoning for his actions.

> The cases that I am aware of are when it is clear to the Gemara that the
> Rav was paskening l'fi one side of the machlokes.

I don't have that impression. Often, the stama d'gemara in a later
generation raises a question and then amoraim try to bring a proof from a
maaseh she'haya in an earlier generation (when the issue was not raised
as question, but presumably the rabbanim knew what they were doing.)
Perhaps some Areivimites could bring some examples.

> Now you are confusing the p'sakim. There is the "p'sak" given to
> Michlala which I addressed above. And now I'm referring to VLY where
> RSZA was discussing a "guest in someone's house or when he (RSZA) goes
> to a wedding", to which I pointed out that both of these are cases of
> POST-facto p'sak - and this is even if we turn a blind eye to the source
> of the "p'sak".

I agree that the lengthier reply was given in the case of the wedding.
However, the Michalah story (which I quoted above) is instructive,
and is likely to be explained based on the wedding example.

Kol tuv,

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Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 10:30:46 -0500
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>

I'm sure everyone's following the ongoing areivim debate (which I think
will be moved to avodah) concerning the use of a "maaseh rav" type book.
I remember a tape of a shiur on Yutorah discussing different approaches
to psak . I don't remember which country was linked to what but in
essence the 2 approaches were:
1. Look for the most similar case 
2. understand the underlying theories of previous psak(even when unstated)

In practice it would seem that each of these would rely to some extent on
the other (else how do you define the key points to look for similarity
in or define the theory by weighted data points). Has anyone seen
any formal analysis/discussion of these approaches. I was particularly
struck by a recent yutorah shiur by R' M Taragin(Gush) on kibbud av
where he discussed some underlying concepts (e.g. is it an ethical debt)
and how these would play out in halacha (e.g. rasha).

If we view halacha as ratzon hashem 1. above could be supported by saying
who are we to think we understand what HKB"H theory was. 2 is what I was
always taught and is certainly more elegant especially to an actuary
(but of course we suspend disbelief about outlier data points). And
especially when R'YBS brings 6 3rd level related data points in and
explains them all with a new theory!

Any insights are appreciated

Joel Rich

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Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 10:21:09 -0500
From: "Zvi Lampel" <hlampel@thejnet.com>
Re: Mabul

Regarding the suggestion that when the narrative of the Mabul (in Torah
and Chazal)refers to the flooding of all the earth under the heavens,
it means to include only that "world" that the people were aware of
(a suggestion I find ludicrous), let me ask the following rhetorical

Shall we then be able to say that when the Torah speaks of Hashem
creating the heaven and the earth, it may be only referring to those
parts of the heaven and the earth that Adam, or the people at Mattan
Torah, were aware of? When Rambam calls this belief in creation of the
universe ex nihilo an ikkar hadaas, perhaps he was only referring to the
parts of the earth and the universe /he/ was aware of? So that one would
not be a kofeir if he holds that those parts of the earth and universe
the people at Mattan Torah, or Adam, was unaware of, were always there
or created by another god (cv's)?

If not, why not?

Zvi Lampel

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Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 09:10:54 -0500 (EST)
From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
An Economics Dilemma

From RGS's "Hirhurim":
> Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Alexander Brody Lecture
> in Economics at Yeshiva University. The speaker was Dr. Morris Altman, a
> leading behavioral economist and the chairman of the economics department
> at Saskatchewan University... He told the following story that I found
> amusing:

> He was at an economics conference and, together with about eleven
> other economists, got into a van to go to the airport. During the ride,
> the driver told the economists that there was recently a shortage of a
> certain item and his friend was the only person in town who had it in
> stock. This friend decided not to raise the price. What do the economists
> think of that?

> Most of the economists said that this friend was foolish and acted
> irrationally. A rational businessperson would utilize that opportunity
> for the benefit of his business. Dr. Altman disagreed and said that
> this friend had acted ethically and his customers would appreciate
> that. Presumably, the customers would remember this incident in the
> future and show preference for his store over competitors'.....

> I'll see if I can get a talmid hakham to present the halakhic view of
> this situation: what is permissible and what is laudable. I can think
> of at least one talmudic precedent.

Nu? What do people here think?

Lehalakhah, this is the inyan of shenei she'arim, no? The machloqes of
whether violating devarim alone can qualify one as a mechusar amanah would
seem most relevent. However, if this is a friend who simply mentioned
the price without coming to an agreement to actually sell...

Since the sale didn't yet occur, you're allowed to raise your prices as
long as you don't go so far as to engage in ona'ah. If the rare item is
a necessity, the tovei ha'ir can fix the price, but that's not an issue
here either.

Morally.... I find the problem complicated, and don't really have
an opinion. After all, if someone counts on you, you may cost him an
opportunity to obtain it elsewhere.


Micha Berger             With the "Echad" of the Shema, the Jew crowns
micha@aishdas.org        G-d as King of the entire cosmos and all four
http://www.aishdas.org   corners of the world, but sometimes he forgets
Fax: (270) 514-1507      to include himself.     - Rav Yisrael Salanter

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Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 23:51:28 EST
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: Kibbud Av v'Em --Prof. Blidstein

From: Eli Linas:
> .... If so, it seems to me that its not much of a stretch to say
> that they were aware of their progenitor's legacy in honoring his
> parents. Indeed, maybe that's specifically why Chazal phrased their
> protest the way they did - to invoke the idea that "Dad wouldn't be
> happy with what you're doing, so to honor him, please stop."

> On an aside, since it is a halacha that Esav hates Yaakov, I wonder
> why this strategy was effective. .... What is the explanation of Rome's
> ambivalence?

You yourself answered your own question in the previous paragraph.
Although Esav hates Yaakov, he honors his father -- Yitzchak --
and therefore has a bad conscience about persecuting Yaakov. This
ambivalence has been a recurring theme in Church-Jewish relations down
through the centuries, too.

 -Toby Katz

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Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 23:00:54 -0500
From: "Moshe & Ilana Sober" <sober@pathcom.com>

> The cons:...There are problems with yichud. Many/most poseqim are
> meiqil...

Why is yichud a problem only if the baby is born Jewish? Or did I


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Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 20:25:52 -0500
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>
RE: An Economics Dilemma

>> ...   the driver told the economists that there was recently a 
>> shortage of a certain item and his friend was the only person in town 
>> who had it in stock. This friend decided not to raise the price. What 
>> do the economists think of that?

> Nu? What do people here think?

Way to little information.Was it a short term shortage? Was it a staple or
medicinal item? Did he expect the present value of future profits based on
enhanced reputation would exceed the short term loss?...

Joel Rich

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Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 23:45:08 EST
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: Adoption

RJR  asked:
> Is there any chiyuv on a couple that unfortunately can't  have their own
> children, to adopt? Is it an eitzah tova or could they find  some other
> mitzvah to spend their time on?

Kol hamelamed es ben chaveiro Torah ke'ilu gedalto -- I may be mangling
that Chazal but there's something like that. No, there is no obligation to
adopt but teaching Torah to other people's children (tutoring, financially
supporting schools, etc) would certainly seem a worthwhile mitza.

> Why did the Lubavitcher Rebbe not adopt?

Chassidim in general seem averse to adopting but I'm not sure why.
OTOH the Bluzhever Rebbe adopted a child during the Holocaust and
saved his life, later brought him to America and raised him as his own.
(He saved the boy by substituting the boy for his own son -- who had
already perished -- on his exit papers.) The whole story is in Yaffa
Eliach's book, *Hassidic Tales of the Holocaust*.

There's a really good book about infertility called 
*The Third Key: The Jewish  Couple's Guide To Fertility* by
Rabbi Baruch and Michal  Finkelstein
Published by Feldheim, Jerusalem


IIRC there's a chapter in there about adoption.

Another very good resource is:

*And Hannah Wept: Infertility, Adoption, and the  Jewish Couple*
by _Michael Gold_ 
(http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index=books&;field-author-exact=Michael%20Gold&rank=-relevance,+availability,-daterank/104-1008073-4014312) .  The author is a Conservative rabbi  but the book is 
sensitively written and well-researched.

 -Toby Katz

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Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 23:41:46 -0500
From: "Aryeh Englander" <iarwain1@earthlink.net>
Re: Sheimos in Megillas Esther

My father says he once saw such a megillah, someone once brought it to
my grandfather's sefarim store.


Go to top.

Date: Fri, 3 Mar 2006 14:11:39 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Adoption

On Tue, Feb 28, 2006 at 04:51:07PM -0500, Micha Berger wrote:
: Besach hakol, I see it a a non-starter.

: On the one hand you have assimilation, AZ and shemad. On the other,
: you have as a worst case the pain of raising a safeiq mamzer and perhaps
: logistics to avoid yichud. Since /someone/ has to deal with these issues
: for the sake of hatzalas nefashos, how can there be a choice to take
: the easy route?

Judging from comments I got in private email, I was not as clear as I
would have liked.

I was not trying to mandate adopting Jewish. Rather, just in thye domain
discussed in this paragraph, the halachic problems that I am aware of
with adopting a Jewish child are noit measurable in comparison to "lo
sa'amod al dam rei'ekha".

I need to inerject here more Areivim-esque comments to clarify the
diference between what I was trying to say and what people thought I
was saying.

First, it's rarely a choice. It's hard to find a healthy Jewish child
(outside of EY, of course), they tend to be privately placed. In the
US, the best you can do is put out a classified ad saying that you're a
Jewish chouple, and hope it makes it more likely that a Jewish mother will
respond. Second, many aren't capable of bonding to a child of a different
gene pool (the healthy but black Jewish child), or of dealing with a
special needs child. So there are FAR more Jewish couples looking than
available Jewish children. (Or children in wealthy countries altogether;
thus the rise of overseas adoption.)

Adoption can NOT be done as a chessed. A child who is raised as a chessed
project rather than as a son or daughter will not have a healthy or happy
childhood. You need someone to whom you can bond is if you gave birth
to it. For many people, that means adoption is altogether impossible,
and my heart goes out to the childless couple in this situation.

Because of these factors many of the chevrah adopted non-Jewish children,
or remained childless or with fewer children than they had dreamed of.
I did not intend to offend or preach to any of them.

(Besides the many non-Jewish children for whom adoption may also spell
the difference between having a life and not.)


Micha Berger             The trick is learning to be passionate in one's
micha@aishdas.org        ideals, but compassionate to one's peers.
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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